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My writing is perceived to carry risks for Ashoka University: PB Mehta in resignation letter

Pratap Bhanu Mehta, in his letter resigning from Ashoka University, says 'it has become abundantly clear to me that my association with the University may be considered a political liability'.

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New Delhi: Professor Pratap Bhanu Mehta in his resignation letter told Ashoka University Vice-Chancellor Malabika Sarkar that he is quitting because his association with the university maybe “considered a political liability”.

He said after a discussion with the founders, it was clear to him that he should resign. “After a meeting with Founders it has become abundantly clear to me that my association with the University may be considered a political liability,” he wrote in his letter.

“My public writing in support of a politics that tries to honour constitutional values of freedom and equal respect for all citizens, is perceived to carry risks for the university. In the interests of the university I resign,” Mehta said in his letter, which was accessed by ThePrint.

In an email sent to his students Wednesday night, Mehta had said he is resigning because of “prevailing circumstances”, but he refused to elaborate those.

Here is the full text of the letter:

Prof. Malabika Sarkar,
Vice- Chancellor, Ashoka University.
Dear Prof Sarkar,

I write to tender my resignation from Ashoka University as University Professor. After
a meeting with Founders it has become abundantly clear to me that my association
with the University may be considered a political liability. My public writing in support
of a politics that tries to honour constitutional values of freedom and equal respect for
all citizens, is perceived to carry risks for the university. In the interests of the
University I resign. I would request that the resignation take immediate effect. I am
teaching one class, and would not like to leave the students stranded. But I think the
university can find a solution. I can informally finish out the rest of the classes, if no
other solution is found.

It has been a great privilege to get to know the students and several wonderful
colleagues at Ashoka. I hope that the institution continues to thrive. I thank you and
the Chancellor for your personal kindness over the years of my association with

It is clear it is time for me to leave Ashoka. A liberal university will need a liberal
political and social context to flourish. I hope the university will play a role in securing
that environment. Nietzsche once said that “no living for truth is possible in a
university.” I hope that prophecy does not come true. But in light of the prevailing
atmosphere, the Founders and the Administration will require renewed commitment
to the values of Ashoka, and new courage to secure Ashoka’s freedom.

My only request is that the administration cooperate in making all the transition
formalities as painless as possible. If any arrangements can take due consideration of
my driver, Gajendra Sahu, I will be most grateful. He moved jobs with me and should
not be penalised. If some interim help can be granted to him, while I make alternative
arrangements to transfer him to an appropriate payroll, I shall be obliged.

I will forever remain a supporter of the values Ashoka is meant to embody. Please
convey my deepest gratitude to all of Ashoka’s faculty, students and staff. They have
all been unfailingly professional, supportive and generous.

I will have a hard copy with my signature sent to you as well. But this mail be treated
as my resignation.

With warmest personal regards,
Pratap Bhanu Mehta

Also read: Economist Arvind Subramanian quits Ashoka University 2 days after Pratap Bhanu Mehta exit


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  1. Very Interesting comments.
    The Raw, sweet and smelly core of “Left” is that the “Constitutional Values” must be upheld in the way our politics, particularly the economy is managed- thru “universal education, healthcare and skill development”. We the People, (the sovereign) will have a pleasant journey of life, then.
    The “Right” on the other hand believes that “The Economic Growth by ‘unshackled’ entrepreneurial classes (businessmen, industrialists) duly encourged by the policy environment will thru trickle down improve the life of “We the People” -the mango-men.
    It is just that “the powerless must be shielded against the exploitation by Powerful (socially and moneyed) : that baalnce is Good Governance .

  2. Hardly anyone in this nation knows about Ashoka University or cares about it. Why is The Print so concerned about this particular university and its professors? What is so special about this university?
    One can understand JNU or JMI or BHU making headlines. These are the creme de la creme of Indian liberal arts education. But Ashoka is not even a decade old and is yet to establish its academic credentials.
    One wonders what exactly is the motive behind such attention to one particular private university.

    • @Anirban Roy If you know nothing about Ashoka University, that’s your problem. Once you find the solution, you would understand why it is in the news.

  3. What is this brouhaha about a university professor resigning?! He is more a columnist and less a professor. I have been reading his columns for over a decade now in the print media and digital media. He is a plain old fashioned Modi-baiter masquarading as a self-styled intellectual. Even as late as couple of weeks back, he wrote about the “imperial ambitions” of Modi. He is free to criticise Modi Government its policies and practices. But, he has engaged in relentless personal attack. For a person who claims to be old and outspoken, he should say “who” said that he may be a political liability for this University.

    For over two generations, these left-liberal-Marxists have ruled roost in the universities in India. They have stiffled alternative narrative in the universities. Countless Ph.D scholars were denied doctorate for not toeing this official doctrine. Now, the birds are coming home to roost.

  4. Ashoka university is a private university, the very model of what the Left hates in education. So why such focus on it ?

  5. P b MEHTA is an intellectual of yesterday.

    He needs to discard the old fake propaganda and narrative which he created himself with his ultra left wing radicals colleagues, which helped them enjoy power through undemocratic means. It seems he has started believing “himself”. Perhaps that’s why he now must give away his make believe world and re-educate himself with the facts that today’s modern world will GOOGLE everything before believing.

    It seems Gen. Bajaw of PAK ARMY now believes INDIA has changed but journalist like you or BURQA DUCT and salim bhai aka YY are now the new warriors.

  6. Good riddance. He is an internal enemy of the country – a perfect Macaulay putra. He can regurgitate the mediocre works of mediocre western “thinkers,” but does not know a word of Sanskrit, never read Kalidasa or Kautilya, has no clue of the indic philosophical schools – what good is this western import for India? The European thought arose out of their own wars, struggles, religions – it has little to do with India. We have had our own civilization, struggles, wars, history – that we need to make sense of. Instead of focusing on the latter, implants like PBM give glib lectures on the former without even realizing that they look like trained circus monkeys with no sense of self awareness that they are dancing to a foreign tune. What a disgusting low life!

  7. Mehta is giving too much importance to himself. No one really cares what he writes except for a microscopic elitist inconsequential anglophile minority. He is just one of the last in the fast extincting breed of brown sahibs…

  8. The woke Leftist media seems intent of sensationalizing the departure of a Leftist academic from some nondescript university. Had it been Presidency University or Delhi University or even University of Pune, one would have understood. These happen to be the gold standard of Indian liberal arts education and research. But the attention showered on Ashoka University which was setup barely a few years ago smacks of a hidden agenda. The Leftist cabal seems quite intent on turning this new “liberal arts” university into the next JNU.
    The Founders must be appreciated for sensing the danger and taking immediate steps to protect the nascent institution from Leftist ideologues like Prof. PB Mehta.

    • Typical bhakt diversionary tactics. The departure of any academic- particularly one as eminent as PBM should cause concerns for everyone about the environment we are creating in our educational institutions.

  9. So the founders will all their fancy Harvard degrees decided that money and business is better than fighting for the truth and similar values. Now we know, how many more businessmen in India think in this fashion.

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